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With redundency becoming more and more common, and jobs in short supply, many people are looking for employment sometimes at a lower grade then their previous position. employers are sometimes reluctant to employ someone, who they feel frustrated taking a lower position or may thing the job beneath them. They may wonder if you will resnet taking instructions frok someone less experienced then you, so the question you may be asked is:
Are you overqualified?
While you may think how this possible, look at this form the employers prospective. Don’t forget recruitment is a cost in both management time and money, this investment, they want to recoup in employment.
Don’t forget the key employer’s questions:
- Can you do the job?
- Are you willing and able to do the job?
- Will you ‘fit in’ as one of the team?
The first one seems obviously simple, but not necessarily so. If your experience is at a higher or managerial level, your operational skills may be rusty or out of date.
The next two questions are the main ones. Do you actually want this job, or are you just ‘killing time’ until a better position comes along? Will you resent working with and under people less qualified then you, will you work with and take a advice from people who, while less qualified, have current operational experience and knowledge of your operational policies and procedures.
- Rather than overqualified, I would say fully qualified, and as you are a growing company, ready and able to grow with you. I see your potential and the way I see it, if I can prove myself in this position, in a few years, I can advance.
- I have enjoyed my time in management, but the reason I entered this field was to actually do the job (i.e. nurse, be a social worker, sell product, write copy) and am actually looking forward to this. I think I am mature enough to see beyond job titles and position.
N.B. be careful, saying that financially you don’t need the money of a higher position or you don’t want responsibility or prefer an easier position are not selling points, a manager may think you can’t be bothered with this job.
Why did you/are you leaving your last job?
This is crucial, the employer wants to know you are positive about this job, and you are not just jumping ship. Whatever you do, do not badmouth the boss or the company.
- While they are an excellent company, as a smaller operation they can’t offer me the potential [responsibility, promotion, career potential] that you can offer me.
- I have worked hard to achieve my qualifications and want to put them to use
- I have been informed that restructuring means a transfer to a new department and I feel my skills can be put to better use
- Company restructuring has reduced both my work load and its variety, I need to be challenged
- I wasn’t actually looking for a new job, but I saw the ad and was excited by your offer
- While I still enjoy my job, you can offer me [better terms, local employment] and I want this opportunity
This up and coming year, we have a number of projects that you will ask a lot of us all in both time and flexibility, how do you feel about that?
There may be a hidden meaning in this if you are a single parent, as they cant ask you outright about your childcare arrangements, however it may be a general good question, asking if you are up to the challenge in a growing business.
- I have read your brochure and researched your company on the internet (shows you are genuinely interested in this job not just after a job anywhere or only here under threat from the jobcentre), so I know about your new [contract/plant/expansion programme] and I am exited that I can play a part in this.
- I am so lucky I have such a supportive family, I know the demands this job will place on me and have no worries there
What to do or say if you left your last job on bad terms
Firstly be positive in your letters and application forms, don’t be negative and mention any problems yet. There are two basic rules to follow:
First, don’t lie, this can come back to haunt you, and if offered the job, it may be used to end your employment. You don’t want any of these problems raised until you are able to defend yourself.
Secondly, don’t rubbish your former employer or company. It shows disloyalty and your interviewer and ex-employer may know each other through trade associations or other organisations.
Remember employers are often influenced in the first 2 minutes of an interview. If these have gone well, it may be time to bring up the negative first before they do and give a positive spin, before moving on to the rest of the interview. Remember that whatever happened, they have asked to see you so you already have something they want to see.
If you were asked to resign or accept redundancy, it is best to find out what sort of reference would they offer. If there were no documented issues then an employer may be reluctant to be totally negative, they may be worried you may sue if they can’t prove what they say. A letter of reference to take away with you is useful to keep on file, as any negative reference later on can be balanced against this one.
Before we go any further I want to say that I didn’t leave my last job on the best of terms, I regret that, and now looking back I wish I had done some things differently and addressed the problems, I didn’t realise were there until too late as I don’t want them to affect my future.
Now to specific areas:
- If your employer said you weren’t up to the job.
I was like a square peg in a round hole, I didn’t realise until too late that my skills weren’t right for that job, unlike this one, but I wanted to work so badly I didn’t look into it objectively, I definitely learned something from that. It was a learning experience for me and I would never consider applying for anything I didn’t feel sure I could handle
We had a new manager with new ideas that I wasn’t up to speed on and didn’t realise until it was too late. By the time I realised that my skills were wrong it was too late, with hindsight I would have asked for a meeting to discuss how I could retrain to get support.
The new [manager/owner/foreman] had a team she wanted to bring in and unfortunately people had to go to make way.
- Trouble maker
The team I was in originally I got on really well with, but when we: [merged/I was transferred/a new management team took over/we gained-lost a contract] which meant everyone was moved. I hadn’t realised how much things had changed and by the time I realised I was like a fish out of water. The others had bonded but I was on my own
I was moved from one job/role/section to another and I had difficulty adjusting, I was so used to my original job/role/section I had trouble adjusting and wanted to go back, I didn’t realise that that option wasn’t available to me.
While I was protesting, I was mainly concerned about safety and the reputation of the company. I would hate to see an organisation I was proud to work for, have its name undeservedly dragged through the mud. It was funny but at the end, I had a few senior people who didn’t want to make waves say they wished they had done what I did
At the end of the day, as a union representative, I was there to represent the interests of my members. Like a lawyer, I didn’t always agree with them but I had a duty to represent them and I take my responsibilities seriously.
I felt bad about complaining about another member of staff, I tried everything I could to resolve the matter quietly but eventually felt I had no recourse to take it higher. Looking back I still felt I did the right thing, but regret deeply what happened.
- Stealing time, or goods falsifying timesheets
While I agree it was technically theft, it was custom and practice and I just did what everyone else was doing, I felt uncomfortable being the only one who wasn’t.
Clocking off late was something our old manager allowed us to do as a thank you as he couldn’t give us anything for working hard, and we never took advantage. When the new manager started, I realise now I shouldn’t do it without his say so, but I didn’t think and carried on.
I was under a lot of stress and did it without thinking. Now I feel really bad about it and realise what I did was wrong and I won’t let this affect the rest of my career, I feel so stupid that one thoughtless act could affect the rest of my life. I certainly won’t make that mistake again.
- Treat it like a job; plan your day’s job search
- Set yourself targets (I.e. today I am going to send 10 letters, phone 2 friends and visit a new retail park opening)
- Keep a record of everyone you contact you might want to get back to them (Also the jobcentre can ask for evidence of what you are doing
- Keep pens and paper by the phone
- check your postal costs, use the wrong stamp and your form won’t be delivered
- Use your library – they have all the local papers and FREE internet
- check your qualifications, do you have to renew anything (I.e. forklift licence) don’t lose anything important or useful
- check your entitlement with your Jobcentre for any available training
- sign up for any training courses available (but make sure it doesn’t ruin your eligibility for anything you really do want (I.e. funding may only be available for one level 2 course)
- Use the A.S.T.A.R. principle Ask Athena Training Uk for more details on this
Waiting for the right job to appear? In my experience, leave it too long and employers lose interest in you. Taking any job shows willingness to work, gives you current references and team work. While waitng for that job, consider what Bill gates said as a guest speaker at a United States school
Bill gates on 11 rules you will not learn in school
Really came from ‘Dumbing down our kids’ by Charles Sykes
Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!
Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice president with a car phone until you earn both.
Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.
Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault; so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you “FIND YOURSELF”. Do that on your own time.
Rule 10: Television and video games are NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.
Busy managers sometimes conduct first interviews by telephone. this is the first hurdle to jump to get to the all important panel interview, so here are ten top tips that may help
- Remember, this is your chance to stand out! They will make their decision who to see from this conversation. You have a chance, managers are too busy to call people unless they are genuinely considering them
- The interview starts as soon as the telephone is answered. The only thing they have to go on is your voice. Have a calm clear telephone manner, do not swear, even if you stub your toe mid interview. Practice speaking with someone you hold in high regard and speaks well and listen to their answer. Don’t try to be ‘posh’ it sounds false and be polite to everyone you speak to, you never know who you are speaking to
- Make sure there are no distractions, turn off the mobile and let someone else answer the door, asking an interviewer to wait while you deal with an interruption is never good, any goodwill built up has to be rebuilt and make sure your phone is fully charged (mobile or cordless)
- Make sure you have a copy of whatever you sent them, i.e., your CV and application form. They are bound to refer to them
- is there anything in your CV or application form you think they may ask you about like a gap in your work history or a qualification? Be prepared.
- have a pen and paper handy so you can make any notes, you can refer back to anything you discuss
- Google the company and print up anything relevant about them, especially anything in the news, you can discuss a new contract or recent expansion, it shows you are interested
- Remember the three questions they want to know. What do you know about us, why do you want the job, and why should we consider you?
- you want to be called for interview, make sure you know already, any periods you can’t make and how much notice your current employer requires
- have some questions prepared for them, generally speaking, questions about the benefits (i.e. salary, holidays etc are bad, questions about training, the role etc are good)
Disturbing news, feedback from employers says many graduates are not ready for the workplace. A HR manager stated, when two new recruits came to see her to complain about their manager, who critisised their report, she told them “This isn’t university, there are no resits and no extensions for deadlines. He said this report is inadequate because it is.” With a glut of graduates on the market, employers now see no need to hold hands while they learn their trade. They expect their recruits to be able to perform.
So, what are employers looking for in new graduate recruits? Preferably work experience in a field related to your job role, but any work experience is preferred. What does working in a shop demonstrate?
The ability to work in a team, interact with customers, be prepared to get your hands dirty and have communication skills.
What else? language skills are preferred. Globalisation means the marketplace is both smaller, and bigger. You need to interact internationally, and any language skills are useful.
So how can you prepare for the job marketplace? Enroll in language courses and brush up your IT skills.Find a smal company in the feild you are looking for and offer to intern for them, they may be grateful for an extra pair of hands. The majority of graduate jobs now also require a range of Office IT skills and a few qualifications in this area along the way will be beneficial.
Athena Training UK is a leading training provider in First Aid, Health and Safety Food Safety and Social Care. We are also Job Search Consultants.
Our first peice of advice on Job search is to treat it like a Job. Plan your day, set objectives, (I will go to the library and check all the local papers ect)
CASTING A JOB NET. Pick 4-6 friends and ask them if there are any vacancies where they work, tell them how badly you need a job. Even if they say no, ask them to check anyway, they may not know if a vacancy is coming up, so ask them to contact Human Resources.
Next is to ask them to contact 4-6 of their friends and do the same thing. tell them you will call back in a week to see how they are getting on. this puts gentle pressure on them to do this.
You now have created some active job seekers working on your behalf. If you get anything back phone the friend directly and get the name of who to contact, and ask if you can mention their name. You are now ahead of the game.